British Virgin Islands

Monday, Sep 20, 2021

5-yr contract issued to fix Customs system after misuse claims

5-yr contract issued to fix Customs system after misuse claims

The government has moved to engage a Bahamas-based company to the tune of more than $1 million for the next half decade to address several needs of the Customs Automated Processing System (CAPS).
In the most recent Cabinet post-meeting statement, it was disclosed that the tender process will be waived for government to enter into the contract with IBM (Bahamas) Ltd to provide management, maintenance, support and enhancement services for CAPS.

It was suggested that the single sourcing of IBM was due to proprietary software rights.

The contract is expected to be issued from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2026 at an annual rate of $234,300, the statement said.

Cabinet said the Financial Secretary will instruct the Attorney General’s Chambers to vet the relevant agreement.

Cabinet also decided that the contract is to be reviewed by the Financial Secretary within three years and the results of the review be submitted to Cabinet for consideration.

Meanwhile, Auditor General Sonia Webster recently gave evidence before the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (COI) to the effect that CAPS was simply not being used in the way it was intended to ensure revenue maximisation.

The government’s internal auditor, Dorea Corea, shared similar findings when she gave evidence before the COI recently.

At the time, Corea said the overarching effect of the CAPS deficiency is that it was very difficult to understand exactly what importers may owe and also hard to understand whether there are revenue losses to the government as a result of this.

This was in direct contrast to a statement given previously by Commissioner of Customs, Wade Smith, who expressed that CAPS was working well and was doing exactly what it was supposed to do.
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